Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Olivia Bell-Reading Analysis 10/3/07

Olivia Bell
Dr. Ellis
Understanding Lit

Reading Analysis

Throughout our class discussions, we have spent a great deal of time talking about the Jesuit education and Jesuit ideals. We have talked about what it means to be able to trust others. We have also talked about what it means to educate the whole person. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” and “My Last Duchess,” a poem by Robert Browning, the question of trust is brought up. In the poems “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby and “America” by Tony Hoagland, the importance in educating the whole person is shown.
Together in class we discussed an essay entitled “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. In this story, it became evident that as the years begin to change it gets harder and harder to be able to put trust in others. In “The Cask of Amontillado” and “My Last Duchess” there was a betrayal of trust that in both cases, led to a person’s death. Montresors had been insulted by his friend Fortunato and was seeking revenge. By the end of this story the revenge caused the death of Fortunato. In “My Last Duchess” the Duke’s envious behavior resulted in the death of the Duchess. The Duke did not know if the Duchess truly loved him and he felt that she did not appreciate his “gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name.” In both of these cases, it is proven how dangerous it can be to put your trust in other people’s hands. It is important to know who you can and cannot trust or to simply realize that you cannot trust anyone. Montresors and Fortunato were acquaintances and while reading the story I never thought that Montresors would go to the extreme of killing. I felt that Fortunato had a sense of “trust” that he would not be killed by someone he knew. Similar to this, I felt like the Duchess would have never thought that the Duke would be the cause of her death. The Duke was unable to trust her when she began to flirt with everything around her and could no longer take it. There was nothing more he could do then to kill her.
In the poems “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby and “America” by Tony Hoagland, the ideal about educating the whole person is shown. In order to be fully educated, a person needs to be able to empathies with the cultures of others. Although all cultures are different, they are significant to their people. It is essential to realize that these cultures work in different ways but are still equally as important. In “Ode to American English” the writer was so use to the English language that when he heard the way others talked, he did not accept it. Language in American is so different because it is so “broken down.” Instead of opening up to what is in front of him, the writer dwells on the language that he is use to. In the poem “America” by Tony Hoagland, the writer gets the point across that you cannot be fully educated if you expect to get rewards for all good deeds. An example of this is shown when the father gets stabbed in the heart. Jesuits do not believe that we should be taught to go out into the world to make money solely for ourselves. The father in this poem finally understood that money was not everything, but it took him until his death to realize how much there is in the world and to education besides money. As the Jesuits say, education should teach you how to be a better person not just prepare you for the working world.

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